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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  November 18, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PST

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states. this is gps, the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. we're done with campaigning, so let's talk about governing. we'll start with two former secretaries of treasury, robert rubin, paul o'neill, one a democrat, one a republican. we'll talk about the fiscal cliff, how to avoid falling over it and once we solve that problem how we get the rest of the u.s. economic house in order. then an exclusive interview with bill gates, the richest man in the united states and the world's biggest philanthropist. i'll get his thoughts on the president's re-election, on the new innovation economy, and the revolution taking place in education. and why the next foreign policy crisis for the world's number one power might well involve the world's number two power. but first here's my take.
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now that president obama has won re-election, the debate in washington has shifted from whether we should raise taxes to how and by how much. this makes sense. with a deficit over a trillion dollars, we will need a combination of increased tax revenues and spending cuts. the president and his allies including robert rubin have made the case that eliminating deductions simply will not get you enough money. you will actually have to raise tax rates. that's probably true as well. but let's not give up entirely on the issue of deductions and all those other hidden subsidies that the simpson-bowles report accurately called backdoor spending hidden in the tax code. in order to sound like they're not spending money, congress often tends to grant special exemptions to paying taxes. in his excellent book "red ink" david russell points out if you get a $1,000 exemption, it's exactly the same as being paid a thousand dollars by the government.
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yet one is recorded as government spending, which is bad, the other, a tax cut, which is good. the simpson-bowles commission pointed out that when you add up all these tax expenditures, they amount to over a trillion dollars in foregone revenue. considering that the total revenues are just $2.5 trillion according to the cbo. russell points out if you got rid of all corporate tax subsidies, we could lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%. but the larger benefit would be to reduce corruption in washington. congressmen get cash for their campaigns. and in return for this, they often give away preferential treatment in the tax code to special interest groups, to company, to lobbies. that is a system of legalized corruption at the heart of american politics. tax expenditures are particularly valuable because unlike actually spending, which has to be renewed in every year's budget.
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tax expenditures are in the code and the benefit is received every year. it's the gift that keeps on giving. now, since we can't do much about campaign finance reform thanks to the supreme court, why not get rid of what the cash often buys. the largest tax breaks are not to corporations. they're to people for things like home mortgage deductions. even these are vastly overdone or should be limited or phased out. britain got rid of it with no adverse effects. canada never had one. and yet they have a similar rate of homeownership to the united states. but forget about the economics for a moment. just as a corruption cleansing mechanism, let's get rid of tax expenditures. if congress wants to give you money, let them do it the old-fashioned way. write a check and do it again err year. -- efr -- every year. let's get started.every year. let's get started.every year. let's get started.
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-- captions by vitac -- so let's get right into it with our guests robert rubin was treasury secretary for four years in the clinton administration. prior to that he was co-chairman of goldman sachs. paul o'neill was treasury secretary at the start of george w. bush's first term. earlier he revived the fortunes of the industrial giant alcoa as its ceo. welcome back, gentlemen. bob, let's first talk about the tactics. it does appear over the last day or two that president obama has taken a stronger position on the fiscal cliff -- on the exploration of the bush tax cuts than he had earlier. he's asking for more in revenues, he seems to be willing to let the tax cuts expire. is that the right strategy here? >> well, it depends where you're trying to get. i think -- i happen to agree with president obama about where he is substantively in terms of what he needs to do to get an effective program as far as our long term trajectory.
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i think that's the overriding objective. i think some of his tactics, it's very hard if you're not in the room to know what to do tactically but what he says to me is different than what you said. he said i have a revenue objective, i think we cannot get there with tax expenditures. >> with the tax reductions. >> he's also saying if you put in a serious tax reduction program that deals with the long term fiscal trajectory, you can get ourselves in a much better place for the long term and you can significantly improve long range terms. increase in confidence. you put all that together. what he then said is i'm willing to sit with people and compromise to find common ground. it's sort of what you said but not quite. he says we all have to work together if we're going to meet that objective. >> what do you think, is he playing too hard ball with the republicans or is there room for
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compromise? >> fareed, i think he shouldn't focus at all on the republicans. i think he ought to focus on the american people. thing is a restart opportunity for president obama and an opportunity for him to educate the people and lead us in the direction we need to go. you know, when i look at the fiscal cliff and sequestration and all these other things, i say to myself, we need to start with this fundamental question. do we the american people agree that we should pay for the things we want and need? and if the answer to that is yes, which i think it ought to be, then i think that's a related question and that is when are we going to start doing it, right? so by the simpson-bowles plan, we would have the next balanced budget in 2035. you know, i think that's a little far out for me, if we're really serious about paying for the things we want and need.
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and so a thing he could do is educate people about the existing tax codes. here are two facts. the tax gap, that is to say the amount of money we don't collect which is due and owing according to a brookings study is $400 billion a year. that's a whole lot of money. >> that's essentially tax cheating of various kinds. >> of various kinds. may not be that extreme, but $400 billione're not collecting now. now, according to art laffer and his group who studied how much it costs our society to administer the current tax system, it costs us $431 billion a year to administer this system. you know, so on its face it says almost a monkey could figure out better way to collect the revenue for the things we need and want than fixing the existing tax system. i think would be great if the president of the united states said we should reason together about an effective system that
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fairly collects the revenue we need and we probably ought to start out by saying we're going to start with blank page. it doesn't mean we can implement it overnight, but now's an opportunity where he could lead us to throw away the broken things that we've evolved into and set out a new course for the united states that will give us high prospects of growth and better standard of living for all the people in the united states. >> do you think that this issue of fundamental tax reform should be part of this current negotiation, or for now try to fix things, move on, and let that larger discussion take place later? >> let me totally agree with something paul said and take a slightly different view on another which goes to the question you just asked. i think paul's exactly right. we've got to address our fiscal trajectory. it's imperative. and you can accomplish both purposes, short term and long term. if you address this long-term
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trajectory effectively, i think you have substantial effect on job creation in the short term you've decreased confidence. then you'd have an up-front moderate. moderate stimulus to further improve growth. on the point that paul raises, in effect i think he's raises a point. tremendous number of deductions, preferences and the like. i think where we have a slightly different view, these were designed with some purpose, and what i think we could do is debate all these purposes. think as a practical matter with the time frame we have we can't have a full debate. i think if you go through all of that, i think as a matter of sun stance, as a matter of the effects you would have, these are the real limits of what you can do, fareed, or what you should do. in terms of practical politics,
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if we're going to have the effective deficit reduction program we had before and if you take the position that we shouldn't increase taxes on the middle income people and you aim at a reasonable balance between tax cuts and revenues, i think most of this is going to have to come from increasing rates in the top two brackets. >> that's what you wrote in "the new york times." >> i wrote that. an op-ed saying if you really look at the numbers, there are serious substantive issues i just raised and then i said when you look at numbers, you will inevitably have to raise something more than the majority from the reeve news. and the rest you can do by reducing reductions and the like. >> would i by fair? we've got to take a break. would it be fair that the substance of what you're seeing seems to suggest that you would like a value-added tax. simple, efficient, easy to collect? >> yes, i want a value-added tax and i want to use it to replace corporate income taxes and individual income taxes and payroll taxes. and i want to do this. i would like for the president
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to declare the purpose of the tax system is to raise the revenue we need. it's okay with me, i'm probably more liberal on some of these things than you are, bob. it's perfectly okay for me for us -- for we the american people to say we want to give people certain benefits depending on their status. their condition and things, that's okay with me, but i want to write them a check. i don't want to do it through the gauze of a tax system that doesn't collect the revenue we need and is inherently unfair. >> we will have to come right back and talk about -- we're going to talk about what the experience -- europe's experience in austerity tells us for american growth when we come back. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days.
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. and we are back with bob rubin and paul o'neill. two former secretaries of the treasury from both sides of the aisle. i say in my opening commentary, paul o'neill says if you want to provide subsidies for people, write them a check. why do it in this hidden way through the tax code which first of all is permanent and perpetual and secondly, you're not being up front about it. >> two comments if i may, fareed. one thing it's not permanent. you can always change it through legislation. number two, even if you're right, which i'm not sure that you're right, we're not going redo the federal budget. if you think it's important, i think charitable contributions
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and health care exclusions are important, then you have to maintain it in its current form. >> you would try to get rid of the corporate side. >> i think it's like the individual one. you have to take each one of them and decide on an individual basis. in the long run, i think paul is right in one sense. it probably makes more sense to have it all on the spending side. on the other hand as i said a moment ago, i think there are a lot of important purposes being observed, and we're not going to redo the federal budget in any time that is remotely related to what we do now which is to get on a sound fiscal path both for the long term and job creation and the short term. >> thank god the creators of our country didn't believe we had to start with a mess and live with it. >> we're being the naive optimists. let me ask you, paul. the whole point about this deficit redux, simpson-bowles, all that, i understand that, but what do you learn from the fact
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that the european countries that have been doing just that from greece and spain to most dramatically britain, britain has really had a very strong austerity program. they've seen growth plummet and britain has contracted more than in the first four years of the great depression. is there a danger that any of these deficit plans are going too far right now given how fragile the economy is? >> you know, my own view is if we plan for a better future and the structure that we set up are disciplined about how we spend our money and have a broad national agreement how to spend our money, it's okay to phase it in. we don't have to do it in the next three months or six months because if people see we're going to have a stable system that's reasonable, efficient, economic, the markets will take off. the thing that investors want when i was running a company, i
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wanted stability. i wanted certainty about the future that i was going to face, and one of the things that's really been holding us back the last couple of years is this uncertainty and bickering about every single thing. so i think if we could get ourselves to a position where, say, we started with a 5% value-added tax to learn how to do it and we promised in two years we were going to eliminate the corporate tax, i think about eliminating the corporate tax system and the individual tax system. then i think people would say, wow, we're headed off to a better place and we understand it and we're all going to be better off. >> how do we get unemployment down? all this is, you know, talking about ways in which we can deal with what is essentially a theoretical problem. right now the united states has no trouble borrowing. in fact, we're borrowing at historically low levels. >> that's very dangerous fareed. i think something paul said is really important. what's happening in europe would be a lesson to us. we still have time to phase this
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in. if you look in europe the lesson ought to be if you don't deal with the problems the holes get deeper, harder to regain confidence, then at some point you have to take much sharper measures. that means -- that can mean that you have to go through a difficult period to deal with what would otherwise be a deeply dangerous long-term situation. the lesson of europe is act now. >> but the reality -- >> all said, phase it in. and i would at least defer the implementation for a limited period with an enforcement behind that. >> will any of this improve america's employment picture? >> yes. for the very reasons paul said. if you have a sound fiscal program that dealt with our long-term imperative, then i believe, just as paul said, that it would increase business confidence significantly both because right now there's great uncertainty about future policy and economic conditions and because there's real concern about whether our government can function. in addition, if you properly functioned it you could have a
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moderately up front stimulus. i think it's the most important thing you could do. >> bob rubin, paul o'neill, glad to have you on. up next, "what in the world." why the next policy crisis may come from an unlikely source. i'll explain it. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about your old 401(k). tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 you know, the one that's been lying around. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 rollover your old 401(k) to a schwab ira, and we'll help you tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 find new ways to make your money work harder. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 so if you're ready to teach your old 401(k) some new tricks... tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 talk to chuck. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 rollover your old 401(k) tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 to a schwab ira tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 and you can receive up to $600. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 see tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 for terms and conditions. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 call, click or visit tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 to open an account today. good boy. to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger.
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now for our "what in the world" segment. if history is any guide, second terms are often disrupted by a foreign policy crisis. it's easy to see how that might happen over the next four years with iran or syria, but there's a distinct possibility that the next big foreign policy crisis will take place somewhere else. perhaps thousands of miles away in asian waters over five islands and three barren rocks, all uninhabited except for a few goats. for months now, chinese and
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japanese naval forces have been confronting each other in the east china seas. both countries claim a tiny set of islands. the japanese call them the senkaku islands, the chinese, the diawus islands. the dispute involves energy. there are immense amounts of natural gas under the china seas. but above all it involves history. its two greatest powers, the two largest economies and militaries have an unresolved bitter relationship. china and japan have never had to occupy the global stage as equals. one has always dominated the other. for most of the past years china was the leader and japan accepted the role of a distant empire. that changed in the late 19th century as japan became the first asian country to modernize its economy and society and
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catch up with the west. after the formation, japan's military strength grew, and in 1895 it defeated ching dynasty, china. one of the consequences of the war, they annexed the islands, but their sovereignty has been in dispute for the last 40 years with china asserting its historic claim and japan its modern possession. over the past two months both countries have acted in ways that could easily spiral out of control toward conflict. the result has been frequent encounters between japanese and chinese ships as they patrol these waters and riots and protests within both countries, with the populations in each getting more nationalist. and there have been few efforts by either government to defuse the situation and move toward a diplomatic solution. united states gets involved because it is bound by treaty to come to japan's aid and
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washington has confirmed senkaku islands are covered by this obligation. in other words, if one of these ones go awry, and china and japan get into conflict, the united states could find itself involved in an asian war. i realize that this sounds far-fetched, but given the extremely bad relations between china and japan, it is possible that honor, pride, miscalculation, or a simple accident could get us there. ♪ and, remember, we are in the midst of an enormous leadership change in china, one that is far more significant than this month's election in the united states. we now know the identity of china's new president, xi jinping. he faces some major challenges. china's growth is slogan it needs a new kind of economic development. its political system needs to be reformed. at the very least tackling corruption but probably more radical changes are needed.
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finally xi jinping will have to find a way for china's rise to take place without unsettling its neighbors and maintaining a cooperative relationship at the same time with the united states. all this makes president obama's job seem a lot easier by comparison. for more on this go to for a link to my "time" magazine column. up next, an interview with bill gates on the economy, on education, on politics. right back. to power our lives. while energy development comes with some risk, north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing generations of cleaner-burning energy for our country, drilling thousands of et below fresh water sources within self-contained well systems. and, using state-of-the-art monitoring technologies, rigorous practices help ensure our operations are safe and clean for our communities and the environment. we're america's natural gas. on gasoline.
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get selsun blue for itchy dry scalp. strong itch-fighters target scalp itch while 5 moisturizers leave hair healthy. selsun blue. got a clue? get the blue. bill gates was the world's richest man. then he gave away billions of dollars to eradicate diseases worldwide, to fight hunger, foster economic development, and to improve our educational system here in the united states. so now he's only the second richest man in the world. earlier this week i sat down with him in washington, d.c., for an exclusive interview on the election results and the economy, and about why gates is now worried about college education in america. welcome, bill. >> great to see you. >> are you happy with the outcome of the election? >> well, now we have certainty
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about whose going to be in the leadership. they've got a very challenging budget situation. i'm quite hopeful that they'll find a way to reach a compromise. while not cutting the key investments in the future, whether it's helping poor countries or funding research in the u.s., funding the education system. you know, now we've got several months here of very important negotiations. >> when you look at that issue of investment, are we going to have enough money to spend on key investments and science research and technology? we're doing less as a percent of the budget than we did a generation ago. >> i'm quite worried about that. the election didn't get very specific about how people are going to cut discretionary spending without cutting into these things that are absolutely critical. and that's where we need to get. we've got a gigantic deficit.
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the only way you deal with it is either through revenue. you know, i think people agree there's going to be some of that. if you're looking over eight years at $8 trillion to $10 trillion, can that be over 20%, 25%, so then you've got cutting entitlements. how willing are people to cut those on the medical space, and do they have really good ideas. and once you get past those two, then you're down to the discretionary, a lot of which are basic programs. and we fund the medical research through nih. our foreign aid budget is treating 45 million people for aids. we're ground to fund the eradication of polio. and so now we're going have to get concrete. it was all generalities about, oh, it's easy to cut these things. well, it's never been easy to cut the budgets. people are going to have to say which parts they think are unnecessary. and areas like education, i just don't see room to cut if we're going to take the young people in our future and do what we need to do. >> when you look at the world
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economy, europe is in a mess and is buying some kind of salvation by taking a lot of pain over the next decade. china is slowing down, india already slowed down, brazil is having its own problems. highly valued currency. do you feel like we're entering a new phase of perhaps significantly slower growth than has been the case for the last 20 years? >> i think definitely for the next five years we're still dealing with the overhang of the problem we had and this problem that europe is getting through where, you know, a fixed currency rate with different competitiveness has created a real contradiction unless they have large -- large fiscal transfers. i don't, however, think that gdp figures really show us what's going on in the sense that gdp's a measure. you know, when we cure a disease, when we let people have
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the internet to learn things in a very flexible way, when we're improving life, it doesn't necessarily show up in gdp figures. now, over time gdp's gone up and life has improved. but those things don't proceed in lockstep. so the kind of innovation that makes me feel like living conditions for everyone, 10 years from now, 20 years from now will be a lot better, that innovation is happening faster now than ever before. >> when you look at that kind of improvement do you think that technology companies will be as vibrant and dynamic and, you know, kind of moving the u.s. economy as they were in the '80s and '90s when you were running microsoft? >> oh, absolutely. the idea of how do you revolutionalize education, we're just at the beginning of that. the progress we're making on a malaria vaccine, that stuff is happening in a fantastic way. the technology companies, you know, speech recognition, visual recognition, that -- those tools
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that empower us, let us collaborate and create, those are improving at an amazing pace. >> but, you know, there are people, like economists robert borden and tyler who have written these papers and books who say, look, you're having technological progress, but it's not like it was before. you had kind of seismic changes that were taking place before, and now what you're having are marginal, incremental, and they're not going to have as much impact on gdp and people's lives and their income. >> i believe they are exactly wrong. that is that the opposite is true in a very, very big way. the digital revolution is just at the beginning. how much as it affected education? not much for the individual learner. how much has it allowed science,
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to make vaccines in this magical way. how much has it let us come up with new materials, new catalysts which we need for these energy breakthroughs? all of this stuff is really happening right now. and although each of these individual things are high risk, you can't say, this guy and this place, but because there are four times as many of those energy innovators, there are 20 times more education innovators, there are, you know, more i.q. on important vaccines and getting them to be cheap, i see that we're going to surprise ourselves, just like the great work that was done in the '80s, is what led to diffusion of technology in the '90s. i see now great work being done in all these innovation sectors. so, you know, there could be no greater contrast than between what i believe and what those people were talking about. and i just don't see how they can keep a straight face.
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i mean when you revolutionalize education, you're taking the very mechanism of how people be smarter and do new things and you're priming the pump for so many incredible things. and, you know, that over the next decade at all levels in all countries, that's going to change quite dramatically. >> all right. when we come back, we're going to ask bill gates exactly how he would like to revolutionalize education. this is what he's been spending a great deal of his time on, when we come back. billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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and we're back with bill gates talking about education and perhaps some other things as well. bill, other than eradicating disease and hunger, your biggest focus, particularly in the united states has been on education. people see this as something that is absolutely crucial, we can't compete in the new, you know, knowledge economy and this
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new globalized world, and yet most people are very frustrated and pessimistic. they feel as though somehow year after year you talk about reform but nothing really seems to move the needle. what do you say to them? >> i'll be the first to admit that the overall results and u.s. k through 12 education have not improved dramatically yet, but i do think there are things being done about helping teachers improve, better curriculum, use of technology that will take that space and at current investment levels and do a far better job. that's an optimistic statement, but we're seeing in pockets as we apply these new approaches a very big impact. >> you're now focusing your attention on what people tend to think of as the crown jewel of the american education system. everybody agrees if you do k-12
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at the bottom end of the socioeconomic spectrum, college education is where we're supposed to be the world leaders at. but you say not so fast. >> well, certainly in terms of the top 100 institutions in the world, the u.s. dominates that list. in the rankings, you get anywhere from half to 80% of the top 100 institutions here. and, you know, they have been so small because they have philanthropy. that's working great. they turn out great research. that's not the engine of equality. it's more the two-year community colleges. it's the four-year colleges that are largely state associated are where the majority of kids go. and there if we look at completion rates, do the kids get the degree that they want to get and if we look at how much they learn in those institutions and if we look at the cost
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trends where because state support is going down, the sticker price is going way up on those things, the trends are very scary. so i think this is a muscle we need to renew, look at the loan programs and grant programs and what kind of incentives can there be for really having excellence. not just is that you admit good students but actually they're smarter, more able to do jobs when you're done, and that they get all the way and complete their degree. >> do you think american universities focus enough on that question of actually teaching the student as opposed to producing research and things like that? >> the bulk of the universities are about teaching kids. the science departments of our lead institutions have this duo role, but the education piece, because we don't measure who's doing it well as much as we should, you know, the kind of prestige ranking, u.s. news and world report, whatever you
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look at, was based on what was the act score as they come in. they look at how much you spend as a positive thing as opposed to saying, oh, you had a low psat score, spent little money and now he's fantastic at doing these jobs that are open in america. >> there's no output measure. you're saying you're measuring everything when the kid goes in, but you measure nothing when they come out of college. >> right. so our foundation is challenging the experts in this field to balance these input measures that are leading to, you know, sort of just competition for the kids that would go to some school to kind of broadening, adding scale, being willing to admit kids to -- >> should all americans go to four-year colleges, or should we do something more familiar in europe, stream in a sense and have some really diverted to two year colleges, perhaps one year diplomas and skills? >> certainly not everybody going to go to four years.
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we don't have the capacity for that. probably not a fit. we have lots of jobs that don't require a four-year degree. the number that require just high school or that a high school dropout can do, those are shrinking a lot. and we do see a shortage in the four-year degree area. so we need to shift people over. but not everyone. we need great two-year programs. and a lot those are actually the best because they're so connected. i need welders, i need, you know, pilots, i need nurses, you know. it's wonderful to see when they're so in touch with the employer that it's not some abstract thing about the degree. it's really okay. i hired your kids and they were good at this but they weren't good at this. change your courses an i'll help get the equipment.d i'll help get the equipment. the two-year sector is very, very important. >> how transformative/disruptive do you think these -- what are called moocs which many viewers
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have seen are these m.i.t. courses or stanford courses where you can just watch the whole course? >> well, turns out once you graduate from college, the number of people that can watch those lectures, i'm in that market, but it's very small. so then they made them free and still it was a very small set of people who benefitted from those courses. now it's been added in the last couple of years, which is causing this change in energy is two things. they don't just have you sit and watch a lecture for 30 minutes or 60 minutes. they do a few minutes and then they engage you. so like a physics course, ph-100 is a great example where he makes physics fun and you're always thinking do i understand that or not. let me go back over it. so that interactivity piece is new and clearly phenomenal. the other thing is if you have a lot of kids taking the same
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course, you can use collaborative tools like bulletin boards for reviewing each other's work and answering each other's questions. answeri other's questions. rather than just working one on one, they review this peer engagement, making sure it's not going off course, that it's not incorrect so the students are getting high quality. so it's very promising, but we have to admit, the last two times people thought technology would change the space, it didn't happen. and so far the courses have mostly been taken by a barely fairly elite set of people. so i'm a huge believer in it, fount additi the foundation is setting up a lot of activity. >> the picture you're painting is one where education is very important. there will be huge pressure on costs of public funding, all of that is drying up. here you have this innovative technology that can allow you to achieve scale and get these courses out. that's going to be inevitably
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the place we go. >> i agree, but again, the status quo is very powerful in education, and so going to a university and saying, hey, these on-line courses are so good, we don't need you to do lectures anymore. so all you're tenured, non-tenured staff that do lectures, you're out that far business because it will keep improving on line. you're more for these counseling sessions and the lab sessions. there are very few universities that are at such a tough place that they're willing to kind of go, wow, we are going to do it over. the ones at the top are not going to change. in fact, they probably don't need to. we need, you know, some sort of state schools that say, okay, there's a crisis out there, and so we're going to adopt these new techniques. and we're just barely seeing that. >> bill gates, it's a pleasure as always. >> thank you. >> and we will be back.
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administering her medication, and just making her comfortable. one night britta told me about a tradition in denmark, "when a person dies," she said, "someone must open the window so the soul can depart." i smiled and squeezed her hand. "not tonight, britta. not tonight." [ female announcer ] to nurses everywhere, thank you, from johnson & johnson. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. we don't let frequent heartburn come between us and what we love. so if you're one of them people who gets heartburn and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn.
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the eyes of the world shifted briefly this week from the american election to the leadership transition in china. beijing's new leaders were, of course, not subjected to a national ballot and that brings up my question of the week. approximately what percentage of the world's nations are electoral democraciedemocracies? is it 40%, 50%, 60% or 70%? stay tuned and we'll give you the correct answer. go to for more analysis. you can also follow us on twitter and facebook. if you miss a show go to
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itunes.c this week's book is "a nation of takers." while the ryan and romney ticket lost, one of the messages of their campaign does have some merit. it is the best data-filled analysis about the rise of entitlement in america. all western societies will have to confront this problem as the baby boomers retire and these costs skyrocket. now for the last look. last sunday was probably the world's biggest ever shopping day. don't worry, americans. you didn't sleep through some new pre-thanksgiving sale. this event was in china as many of the bigger things seem to be these days. millions of people sent gifts to their loved ones, clogging up the postal services. the event? a made-up holiday.
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china's bizarre version of valentine's day. they call it singles day. it falls on november 11 each year. get it? 1-1, singles. there will be 38 more men of married age than women. those single men better be sending really nice gifts to the object of their affection. the answer to our question was c, 50% was up in electoral dm democracies. thanks for being a part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. hello, i'm gary tuchman with a look at our top stories. israel says it killed one of the heads of the rocket-launching units. then there is this today.
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a targeted strike against a media center in gaza. six journalists were hurt. gaza officials said 65 palestinians have died in four days of fighting. hamas rocket attacks killed three israelis. president obama talked about the implicate during his trip to asia. >> we are actively working with all the parties in the region to see if we can end those missiles being fired without further escalation of violence in the region. >> president obama is in thailand, the first step of his three-nation tour of asia. he met with thailand's king. today he visits myanmar, something no u.s. president has ever done before. mr. obama wraps up his tour in cambodia where he'll attend the east asia summit. a long beach


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